Early goal for Cisse is enough for Magpies to scare off Canaries

Newcastle 1 Norwich 0

Papiss Cisse rekindled Newcastle's challenge for Europe as the
Magpies secured a first win in five Barclays Premier League games.

Cisse's 11th-minute strike, his third goal in four home outings, was enough to see off Norwich in a contest which remained in the balance until the final whistle.

However, on another day he might have left with the match ball after passing up a series of glorious chances to add to his tally.

That he did not was in part down to the resilience of Canaries goalkeeper John Ruddy, who produced a string of fine saves to keep the Magpies at bay and his side in with a fighting chance.

Opposite number Tim Krul also had to be at his best to deny Anthony Pilkington and Zak Whitbread in quick succession with the visitors threatening to snatch a point in front of a tense crowd of 47,833.

Newcastle ran out knowing a return of just two points from the last 12 on offer had to increase markedly if they were to maintain their challenge for European football, and with manager Alan Pardew having set them a target of five wins from their final 10 games to keep themselves in with a chance.

They were well on the way to securing the first of those victories when the half-time whistle sounded, but they might have been out of sight.

January signing Cisse produced a finish in keeping with the near-£10million fee the Magpies paid for him with 11 minutes gone when he got ahead of defender Whitehead to drill Jonas Gutierrez's cross instinctively past the helpless Ruddy.

But had he been as lethal with the other chances which came his way during a lively opening 45 minutes, the points could have been banked long before the end of the game.

There were less than two minutes on the clock when Yohan Cabaye played the Senegal international in for the first time, and his cheeky lob was only just plucked out of the air by the advancing Ruddy.

Kyle Naughton made a vital block to prevent Cisse's 39th-minute volley from ending up in the back of the net, but he should have doubled his tally two minutes later when he ran on to Gutierrez's sumptuous pass, but could not beat the keeper one on one.

In the meantime, Ruddy had pulled off a fine reaction save to claw away Demba Ba's effort as it threatened to creep inside his far post, and Elliott Bennett have survived appeals for a penalty after Danny Guthrie's cross hit his hand.

However, the Magpies, who started with Gutierrez at left-back and James Perch protecting the back four in the absence of Davide Santon and Cheick Tiote, did not have things all their own way.

The Canaries, as they have done for much of the first campaign back in the top flight to date, moved the ball confidently and created three chances of note of their own.

Jonny Howson only just failed to capitalise on Mike Williamson's 19th-minute error before Pilkington drilled a long-range effort into Krul's midriff.

But they could have gone in level had Andrew Surman hit the target rather than firing wildly across the face of goal in the final minute of the half.

Hatem Ben Arfa might have eased Newcastle further clear within seconds of the restart when he ran on to Whitbread's weak clearing header, but although he made good progress into the penalty area, he screwed his right-foot shot harmlessly wide.

Cisse tested Ruddy once again, this time from distance, after running on to Ba's 50th-minute lay-off, and the keeper needed two attempts to claim his shot.

But Norwich were in no mood to lie down and accept their fate, and the home side needed Krul to preserve their lead twice within seconds.

The Holland international first blocked Pilkington's shot at his near post and then tipped Whitbread's header over with the visitors pushing hard for an equaliser.

Ba fired wide from distance as Newcastle responded, but with frustration mounting on the terraces, Pardew replaced Ben Arfa with Santon, in the process freeing up Gutierrez, who had started at left-back, to return to his accustomed midfield role.

Newcastle managed to exert a measure of control as the clock ran down with the physical presence of substitute Shola Ameobi helping to relieve some of the pressure, although Steve Morison might have levelled at the death, but scuffed his shot straight at Krul under pressure from Fabricio Coloccini.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage